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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada on May 28 – CBC.ca

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The latest:

As Canada’s total number of COVID-19 cases climbed to more than 88,500 on Thursday, New Brunswick began ramping up testing in a region of the province where it’s feared a new cluster of three cases could grow.

At least 150 people have been exposed to a medical professional in the Campbellton region who has COVID-19 and saw multiple patients over a two-week period following his return to New Brunswick from Quebec. Gilles Lanteigne, head of the Vitalité Health Network, said those exposed include 50 health-care workers at the Campbellton Regional Hospital and 100 people in the community.

“We could see some transmission around the province,” Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health, told a briefing on Thursday, adding that two of the three new cases of COVID-19 are health-care workers.

Quebec and Ontario remain the hardest-hit provinces in terms of the number of cases and the daily increases.

Innis Ingram sits chained to a tree Thursday near crosses identifying the lives lost to COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community centre in Mississauga, Ont. Ingram’s mother is inside the facility, and he says he won’t unchain himself until an inspector arrives or management from Trillium Health Partners, a hospital system serving Mississauga and west-end Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Quebec has reported 563 new cases, while Ontario has reported 383 new cases. As of 5:50 p.m. ET on Thursday, Canada had 88,504 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases, with 46,844 considered resolved or recovered. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial health data, regional information and CBC’s reporting stood at 6,961.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, said the country is seeing a “series of regional epidemics” with Quebec and Ontario experiencing the vast majority of cases and severe outbreaks.

Within those provinces, you have to home in on certain areas and offer assistance to hard-hit areas, said Tam, who praised a move by the health officials in Toronto to release more “granular data” about COVID-19 cases.

When asked about a recent decision in New Brunswick to reimpose some restrictions on one region after new cases emerged linked to a returning traveller who didn’t self-isolate, Tam said she thinks every medical officer of health agrees on the need to be “really careful” as activities resume and restrictions are lifted.

WATCH | RCMP to look into new cluster of cases in New Brunswick:

Premier Blaine Higgs says police will determine whether charges are warranted after a health-care professional with COVID-19 did not self-isolate after returning to New Brunswick from Quebec. 0:56

“I think there’s always been the message in different jurisdictions that there’s a flexibility in the public health system to reinstate or pull back on some of the measures as they see fit, based on their own epidemiologic context,” she said at a Thursday briefing.

New Brunswick had gone an extended period with no new cases, but with the new cases, it’s now rolling back the easing of some restrictions in Zone 5, an area that’s home to 25,000 people and includes the Campbellton-Dalhousie Region. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not hold his daily briefing on Thursday because he was opening a UN conference on financing issues around health and development and how they have been affected by COVID-19, including questions about liquidity and debt.

Trudeau told heads of state and government that “our citizens need to have confidence in international institutions that leave no one behind and are capable of overcoming global challenges.”

Read on for a look at what’s happening in your region, and to get the latest details on how provinces are handling the pandemic and the tentative process of lifting restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel virus.

Here’s what’s happening in the provinces and territories

British Columbia reported nine new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Thursday — including one new outbreak at Nicola Lodge, a long-term care home in Port Coquitlam — for a total of 2,558 cases in the province. There have been 164 COVID-19-related deaths in B.C., including two more in long-term care homes in the Fraser Health region.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the province’s health officer, announced the outbreak of COVID-19 at Mission Institution, where dozens of inmates had fallen ill, has now ended. Read more about what’s happening in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry has said that B.C.’s COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction but urged continued adherence to public health guidelines. (Michael McArthur/CBC)

Alberta reported 29 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and two new deaths. That brings the province’s total number of confirmed cases to 6,955 with 143 deaths.

On Wednesday, the province reported its lowest number of active cases since the end of March, at 679. That number was down to 652 on Thursday. Read more about what’s happening in Alberta, where health officials are investigating a possible case of Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), an inflammatory syndrome associated with the novel coronavirus.

Saskatchewan announced two new cases of COVID-19, one in the province’s northern region and one in the Saskatoon area. There are now 61 active cases out of 639 cases and 568 recoveries, with four people in hospital for treatment of the disease. Ten people in the province have died of the illness. Read more about what’s happening in Saskatchewan.

Manitoba is on track to enter the next phase of its reopening on Monday, when it will allow restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses shuttered by COVID-19 restrictions to open with stepped-up public health measures in place.

There were two new cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba on Thursday, bringing the province’s total to 294. Read more about what’s happening in Manitoba.

WATCH | Brian Pallister talks about moving Manitoba into the next phase of reopening:

Premier Brian Pallister says the slow and careful Phase 2 reopening is the result of the low incidence of COVID-19 in Manitoba and the province will look closely at any resurgence in cases. 1:15

In Ontario, Premier Doug Ford said Thursday that he’s sick of “taking bullets” for unionized government inspectors who, he said, refused to go into the province’s long-term care homes to carry out inspections in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic because of safety concerns.

WATCH | Release of COVID-19 hot spot data in Toronto can help prevent spread of coronavirus, says epidemiologist:

Dr. David Fisman says lowering infections in hot spots will help the city and province continue with reopening plans.  6:45

On Wednesday, the province announced it’s taking over the management four of the five long-term care homes that were the subject of a Canadian Armed Forces report alleging “horrific” conditions, including poor hygiene and aggressive behaviour toward residents. Read more about what’s happening in Ontario.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault talked more about plans to recruit and train 10,000 support staff, or orderlies, to work in long-term care homes. He said they would be full-time positions with pensions and benefits.

Provincial Justice Minister Sonia LeBel confirmed that courthouses in Quebec would reopen on June 1. She said there will be a limited number of people allowed inside, physical distancing rules and Plexiglas barriers for judges.

Many long-term care homes in Quebec are in desperate need of medical personnel and continue to struggle to bring down the number of COVID-19 infections, a military report on its mission inside the province’s seniors’ residences says. Read more about what’s happening in Quebec, which has had 49,702 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

WATCH | Military reports staffing, PPE issues in Quebec long-term care homes:

The Canadian military’s report into Quebec’s long-term care homes during the COVID-19 crisis found ongoing staff shortages and issues with the use of personal protective equipment. 2:00

In New Brunswick, officials say they expect hundreds of people to be tested within the next couple of days after a new cluster of COVID-19 cases in the Campbellton region. Premier Blaine Higgs on Thursday said the development is “very concerning,” but he remains optimistic that with contact tracing, the province will be able to curb the spread of the respiratory illness. Read more about what’s happening in N.B., where the legislature, which just reopened on Monday, has been adjourned until June 9 in a bid to ensure MLAs don’t contribute to spreading the virus.

New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, both with low numbers of COVID-19, were considering a proposed interprovincial bubble that would see travel resume across the Confederation Bridge in late June or early July. Higgs, New Brunswick’s premier, told CBC News such a plan now depends on what health officials learn about the new cluster of cases in northern New Brunswick in the next couple of weeks.

Nova Scotia is set to allow more businesses to reopen next week, saying everything from restaurants and bars to gyms and personal services like hair salons can open on June 5 under enhanced public health protocols. “We are still moving slowly, but this is a good first step,” Premier Stephen McNeil said Wednesday. Read more about what’s happening in N.S., which reported two new coronavirus cases on Thursday.

Prince Edward Island’s state of emergency has been extended until June 14Read more about what’s happening on P.E.I., which has no active cases of COVID-19.

Newfoundland on Thursday reported one new case of COVID-19, ending the province’s 20-day streak of zero new cases. The Department of Health says the new case, affecting a man between 40 and 49 years old, is related to travel. Read more about what’s happening in N.L.

The chief public health officer of the Northwest Territories said she “wholeheartedly” supports the idea of people taking staycations this summer, including visits to regional hubs. But Dr. Kami Kandola said people in the territory need to “stay on our game,” as the risk associated with COVID-19 has not passed. Meanwhile, in Nunavut, the public health emergency has been extended until June 11. Nunavut is the only jurisdiction in Canada that has not had a confirmed coronavirus case. Read more about what’s happening across the North.

Here’s what’s happening around the world

The novel coronavirus, which causes an illness called COVID-19, causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. The virus labelled SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in China in late 2019, before spreading around the world.

WATCH | Why Iceland has been so successful at contact tracing:

Coronavirus contact tracing in Iceland is a collaborative effort between health-care workers and the police, creating a ‘force to be reckoned with,’ says one of the detectives in charge. 4:47

According to a Johns Hopkins University case tracking tool, as of Thursday afternoon there were more than 5.9 million coronavirus cases worldwide, with nearly 358,000 deaths reported. 

The U.S. accounts for almost 1.7 million of the cases and more than 100,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

WATCH | COVID-19: What parts of the world are big concerns right now?

A panel of experts answer questions about what’s happening with COVID-19 around the world and how it impacts Canada. 6:20

WATCH | COVID-19: What parts of the world are big concerns right now?

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Canadians' COVID-19 fears are rising again — and the U.S. might be to blame – CBC.ca

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As the number of new cases of COVID-19 being reported daily in Canada has declined over time, Canadians’ concerns about the spread of the disease have spiked.

The uncontrolled outbreak south of the border might be the reason why.

Since June 7, the daily tally of new cases in Canada has been 500 or less. It’s been well under 400 per day for over a week. Just over a month ago, however, health officials were reporting between 1,000 and 2,000 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in this country almost every day.

The drop in cases doesn’t mean that Canada is out of the woods just yet — localized outbreaks are still popping up and hundreds of new cases are being reported daily. But the country is in a much better place than it was just a few months ago.

Nevertheless, Canadians are feeling more worried today, according to a recent poll.

The survey, conducted by Léger for the Association for Canadian Studies between July 3 and 5, found that 58 per cent of respondents were personally afraid of contracting COVID-19. That figure has increased seven percentage points in two weeks and is now the highest it has been in Léger’s weekly polling since mid-April.

It’s a notable shift in public opinion. Concern peaked in early April, when 64 per cent of Canadians reported being personally afraid of getting sick. At the time, Canada was reporting over 1,200 new cases every day.

From that peak, fears consistently decreased over the seven weeks that followed before falling to a low of 51 per cent. Concerns hovered around that level, with little variation from week to week, between late May and late June.

The epidemiology in Canada can’t explain this step backwards in public opinion over the last two weeks. On May 25, 1,011 new cases were reported in Canada. June 8 saw only 429 newly confirmed cases. Between July 3 and 5, when Léger was in the field, Canada was averaging 294 new cases per day.

So what explains this sudden flare-up in coronavirus fear?

Fear of an open border

While Canada’s COVID-19 trend line has been improving, the outbreak in the United States is getting worse.

At the low point in Léger’s polling on Canadians’ fears of contracting the disease, there were about 20,000 new cases being reported every day in the United States — fewer than during the peak point for Canadians’ COVID anxiety, when American health officials were reporting between 25,000 and 35,000 new cases daily.

But over the three days when Léger was last in the field, the U.S. hit new records for COVID-19, peaking at 57,000 new cases on July 3 alone. The caseload in most states is now rising.

The United States has seen a surge in new cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks. Polls suggest the vast majority of Canadians do not want the U.S. border re-opened soon. (Lynne Sladky / Associated Press)

It’s clear that Canadians are watching the cautionary tale south of the border. Searches on Google Trends for “COVID” and “U.S.A.” peaked at the end of March in Canada, but had dropped off to less than half of that by the first week of June. Since then, however, web searches related to the pandemic in America have nearly doubled, while searches related to the pandemic in Canada have held steady.

Polls suggest Canadians are worried about the situation in the U.S. A Nanos Research survey for the Globe and Mail found that 81 per cent of Canadians polled want the border with the United States to stay closed for the “foreseeable future.”

Léger finds that 86 per cent of Canadians reject the idea of re-opening the border at the end of July, as is currently planned (although the border closures have been renewed and extended repeatedly in the past). Remarkably, 71 per cent of Canadians “strongly disagreed” with a re-opening of the border, suggesting a firmly held opinion.

In mid-May, Léger reported that 21 per cent of Canadians wanted the border to open by the end of June or earlier. Now, just 11 per cent agree with opening the border by the end of July.

Renewed pessimism about the future

These darkening views on the pandemic can’t be tied entirely to COVID-19’s spread in the United States. The U.S. isn’t the only country with an uncontrolled outbreak. Both Brazil and India are reporting over 20,000 new cases per day and countries as far apart as Russia, Mexico, Pakistan and South Africa are also detecting thousands of new cases on a daily basis.

But the rising caseloads in the U.S. and elsewhere offer stark warnings about what could happen here if things go wrong. The periodic flare-ups on this side of the border also act as a reminder that the disease hasn’t gone anywhere. Even Prince Edward Island, which went months without a new case, has experienced a recent uptick.

Canadians are reporting more pessimism about the future, despite the apparently improving situation here. According to the Léger poll, 82 per cent of Canadians expect a second wave — that’s up six points from early June.

Just eight per cent of respondents want to see governments accelerate the pace of relaxing physical distancing and self-isolation measures, down five points since last month. The number who want to slow down the pace has increased by seven points to 28 per cent. The other 65 per cent want to maintain the current pace of re-opening.

Some restrictions have been lifted as the number of new cases in Canada drops, but polls suggest Canadians are pessimistic about the future evolution of the pandemic. (Graham Hughes / Canadian Press )

The poll suggests Canadians have lost some of their late-spring optimism. The number who reported thinking that the worst is behind us peaked at 42 per cent in mid-June. That has dropped by seven points to 35 per cent, while the number who think the worst is yet to come has increased nine points to 39 per cent — its highest level since the middle of April, when the first wave of the novel coronavirus was cresting in Canada.

Polls routinely show little resistance to the imposition of mandatory mask laws and significant apprehension about attending large gatherings or embarking on international travel any time soon.

The weather has improved, the patios are open and people can get a haircut again, so things have gotten brighter. But more and more Canadians appear to be coming to the realization that this is likely to be just a temporary reprieve — and not the new normal.

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Canada’s coronavirus decline continues as cases surpass 106,000

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Newly-confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Canada remain in a steady decline as the country’s number of infected surpassed 106,000 Tuesday.

Overall, Canada saw 18 new deaths, bringing the national death toll past 8,700.

Quebec, the province hit hardest by the virus, had an increase of 30 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, increasing the total number of infected just three short of 56,000. Officials wrote in a press release that 13 people died overnight, with the overall number at 5,590. More than 25,000 residents have recovered from the virus, while 650,516 people have been tested so far.

Ontario reported 112 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, for a total of 36,060. The death toll increased from 2,689 to 2,691. Over 1.5 million people in the province have been tested, while 31,603 have recovered.

Saskatchewan officials recorded the province’s 15th COVID-19-related death on Tuesday, and one more newly confirmed case for a total of 806. All but 69 have recovered from the virus, while 70,290 have been tested so far.

As of Tuesday evening, British Columbia’s confirmed cases rose to 2,981 after the province reported 11 new cases on Tuesday. Nine additional cases are “epi-linked,” which is when transmission is made possible after a patient may have been in contact with one or more people who tested positive with the virus.

Those cases have not been confirmed by laboratory tests. Over 203,000 have been tested in B.C. while 2,645 have recovered. There were no new deaths recorded linked to the virus.

New Brunswick has not had a new case of COVID-19 since June 23. All but three residents infected with the virus have recovered while just under 44,900 have been tested.

There were 47 new cases reported in Alberta on Tuesday, increasing the number of infected to 8,436. Two people died from the virus, raising the death toll to 157. Just shy of 494,000 people in Alberta have been tested for COVID-19 while 7,659 have recovered from the virus.

Nova Scotia is on its second consecutive day without any new cases of the new coronavirus, leaving the total at 1,065 and 63 deaths. Officials said 998 residents have recovered and 56,493 have been tested for COVID-19 in the province.

Manitoba, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador had no new cases or deaths to report.

Manitoban officials reported just over 67,000 residents were tested while 307 have recovered from the virus. Seven have died.

P.E.I. hasn’t reported a new case of COVID-19 since Sunday and no deaths in the province have been linked to the virus. Over 13,200 people have recovered, while 27 have recovered.

In N.L., which has seen 261 cases, said in a statement Tuesday 258 have recovered and 19,184 residents have been tested. There have been three COVID-19-related deaths.

Neither the Northwest Territories or the Yukon have seen a newly confirmed case in months, although Nunavut is currently awaiting confirmation on what could be the territory’s first ever case.

COVID-19 cases have been surging in certain parts of the world, including the United States, which remains the epicentre of the virus. The latest data from Johns Hopkins showed the U.S. accounted for over 2.9 million of the world’s 11.7 million confirmed cases.

More evidence is emerging that COVID-19 can be spread airborne, rather than just from person-to-person or through droplets expelled from the nose or mouth.

A top official with the World Health Organization acknowledged Tuesday “the possibility of airborne transmission and aerosol transmission as one of the modes of transmission of COVID-19.”

A scientific brief summarizing what is known about COVID-19’s modes of transmission of the virus is expected to be released by the WHO in the coming days.

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'It seems crazy': They can't be together in Canada, so they're moving to Serbia – CTV News

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TORONTO —
She lives on an island where COVID-19 has never been detected. He lives on an island where every case has been resolved.

And because their countries’ border restrictions prevent either of them from travelling to the other’s home, they’re planning to meet up on another continent, in a nation where they don’t speak the language or have any ties and the novel coronavirus is a much more pressing concern.

“It seems crazy in my mind, for him to be leaving an island in the Caribbean … where there’s no COVID. I’m leaving our other island in Eastern Canada where there’s also no COVID, and here we go off, leaving our safe havens … and off we go to Europe for I don’t know how long,” Carly Fleet told CTVNews.ca vin a phone call on Monday from Grand Manan, N.B.

None of New Brunswick’s 165 COVID-19 cases have been traced to Grand Manan, an island in the Bay of Fundy. Grenada’s 23 patients have all recovered. But travel restrictions in both countries mean neither Fleet nor her common-law partner Sean Bodden can visit the other.

They were last together in late February, weeks before the pandemic disrupted global travel and Grenada shut its borders. Like many Caribbean nations, it delayed its reopening plans after Antigua and Barbuda announced dozens of cases within weeks of letting tourists back in. This means that Fleet, a Canadian citizen, cannot enter the country.

Less clear is what would happen if Bodden tried to get into Canada. Those looking to reunite with Canadian spouses or common-law partners have officially been allowed into the country for about a month, but many couples have reported difficulty getting the non-Canadian partner in, even when they have what they believe to be sufficient proof of their relationship.

The Canada Border Services Agency has said that there are no set criteria for a non-Canadian partner to make it across the border. Instead, individual border guards have the authority to decide who gets in “based on the information available to them at time of processing.”

While Bodden has a lease that shows he and Fleet have been together for longer than one year – meeting the government’s required length for a relationship to count as common-law – their situation is complicated by them having spent some time during that period apart, each in their own countries.

That has Fleet concerned that trying to get her partner into Canada is “like playing Russian roulette,” as she put it, because a border guard could decide they have not been together long enough to qualify.

“We’ve heard so many horror stories of married couples and all sorts of different situations where people have tried it. Some get through; some don’t,” Bodden told CTVNews.ca on Monday in a phone call from Grenada.

BORDER QUESTIONS

If Bodden is denied entry into Canada, it’s not at all clear where he could go next, as his citizenship is Trinidadian, not Grenadian – and neither country has reopened its borders.

“If I do get turned away at the border, I may not be able to get back into Grenada and I definitely will not get back into Trinidad,” he said.

Given the inability to travel between their two coronavirus-free communities, Fleet and Bodden have instead booked plane tickets to a distant land that is reporting hundreds of new COVID-19 cases a day.

On Friday, they will have their long-awaited reunion in Paris. They won’t be staying there, as Trinidad and Tobago is not one of the 14 countries whose citizens are allowed to enter the European Union bloc. Instead, they’ll fly on to Istanbul.

They’ve also booked tickets to take them from Turkey to Belgrade, Serbia, but a recent spike in COVID-19 cases there has led to some restrictions being reimposed. Fleet fears that the situation may worsen by the time her flight arrives.

“I don’t know, by the time Friday rolls around, if we’ll still be able to get into the country,” she said.

Bodden and Fleet are hardly the only half-Canadian couple separated by the border measures. Many of them are in touch with each other online, and Fleet says she’s aware of some in situations she considers worse than hers, including parents being separated from newborn children they have yet to meet and women going through high-risk pregnancies without their partners.

She says she initially understood why the rules were in place to protect public health and could live with that, but recent news that the government is guaranteeing access to professional baseball and hockey players has her wondering why that is doable for athletes but not for couples.

“I can’t stay in a country that’s going to give priority to sports over family,” she said.

“We’re certainly not advocating for open borders. We understand that the safety of Canadian citizens has to be first and foremost. We would just like some exemptions to be made for committed couples and families to be able to reunite.”

‘I’LL DO ANYTHING’

Whether they end up in Serbia, Turkey or Croatia – the very few countries that they say meet their criteria of currently accepting Canadians and Trinidadians, not requiring them to quarantine and being reachable from Paris – Fleet and Bodden will have no local ties, no understanding of the language, no accommodations booked and no idea of how long they’ll stay.

“We just thought ‘If we’re going to be together, we need to do something dramatic,’ so we started looking at countries that … let foreign nationals in,” Fleet said.

“We’ve just kind of resigned ourselves to the fact that we don’t know exactly where we’re headed.”

It isn’t their first choice. They say that since it became clear they wouldn’t be able to spend the summer together in New Brunswick, they’ve been making plan after plan after plan, only to readjust as the pandemic endures and travel restrictions are extended.

With new COVID-19 case rates again accelerating in the Balkans, they expect that Friday may not go exactly as they expect either – but they still expect to reunite in Paris, and will figure out the rest from there.

“We’ve made so many plans in the past and had doors shut in our face that we just keep on trying until we do succeed,” Bodden said.

“I’ll do anything to be with her. I don’t care where it is.”

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